Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (9/1)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup is published every Monday.


UCLA men's basketball coach Ben Howland continues to work on this 2009 recruiting class, but added a second member to the 2010 class when highly rated Colony High of Ontario guard Tyler Lamb gave the Bruins a non-binding oral commitment. Lamb, a 6-foot-4, 190-pound shooting guard, is the second player to commit for the 2010 class. Kendall Williams, a 6-2 guard from Los Osos of Rancho Cucamonga, committed in November. "(UCLA) is pretty much where he wanted to go to school all along," said Lamb's father, Terry. "It's close to home, it's a very good school and a very good basketball program. He chose to make the decision now. He thought about it, and that's where he wanted to go." Terry Lamb said Tyler committed Aug.25, but the family kept the commitment private until the other schools recruiting Lamb could be notified. LA Daily News 8/31


Speaking of recruiting, the buzz at Rucker is that St. John’s is closer than a lot of people think in the Lance Stephenson sweepstakes. We’re probably prejudiced, but we think the 6-6 Stephenson, who already has led Lincoln to three PSAL titles, has as many skills as any prospect in the country. NY Daily News 8/25

Move over, Jeremy Tyler. There is a new player sitting atop the junior rankings. Seattle-area big man Josh Smith (6 feet 10/270 pounds) takes over the No. 1 spot in the class of 2010 rankings. He improved each tournament and finished the summer as one of the elite big men in the nation, regardless of class. "Smith is just such a naturally gifted basketball player," national recruiting analyst Jerry Meyer says. "His size, strength and explosiveness around the rim are unparalleled in the class. Beyond that, he has one of the best set of hands I've seen on a big guy and has great shooting touch - if he's not dunking the ball on somebody. "If he grows to be 7 feet tall, as expected, he has a chance to be a truly special big man." Gator Bait 8/26

Already, Jerryd Bayless, Brandon Jennings and Emmanuel Negedu have vacated their UA positions or commitments without ever playing for Olson. Now, even though Abdul Gaddy is required to play two years of college basketball because of his young age, he appears less likely than ever to spend even those with the Wildcats. In their places the Wildcats now have relatively unheralded guys such as Garland Judkins, Kyle Fogg and (in 2009) Reger Dowell. By most accounts, all three of them have athleticism, solid personalities and solid work ethics. Arizona Daily Star 8/26

The Memphis Tigers picked up a point guard Tuesday that has been making his living for the last three years playing baseball, according to C.J. Henry has played several positions with the New York Yankees in their farm system. He was their no. 17 overall pick in the 2005 amateur draft. Henry is also the older brother of 6-6 small forward Xavier Henry, one of the nation's top players in the 2009 recruiting class. According to his contract, the Yankees will pay for his college. Henry was recruited three years ago by coach John Calipari, before Henry opted for a baseball career. Calipari coached Carl Henry, C.J.'s father, when Carl played for Kansas in the mid-1980s. WREC 600 8/26

In a world where elite recruits sometimes commit before their sophomore or junior years begin, center Anthony Stover is taking an old-fashioned approach: He is taking the official visits that seniors are allowed in the fall before deciding. Stover's father, Craig, said Anthony is planning to visit Washington, ASU, UCLA and UA. Stover attended UA's elite camp this month but will return for an official visit sometime this fall, his father said. "He really likes Coach Olson a lot," Craig Stover said, adding that the elite camp experience "most definitely helped. He enjoyed it a lot." Arizona Daily Star 8/27

Carl Henry, the father of KU recruit Xavier Henry, told on Tuesday that Xavier, a 6-6 senior from Putnam City (Okla.) High, will still visit KU in the wake of Xavier’s brother, C.J., committing to Memphis on Tuesday. “C.J.’s decision has absolutely no impact on Xavier’s decision,” said Carl Henry, who played basketball at KU. “He is still going to visit Kansas during their ring ceremony (Sept. 19-20) and during Late Night (Oct. 17). That hasn’t changed at all. Xavier is also going to visit Memphis. As far as a decision goes, he hasn't made one. Xavier is going to do what is best for him.” Lawrence Journal World 8/28

No player used the summer AAU circuit to catapult in the national player rankings more effectively than the electrifying Avery Bradley, a native of Tacoma, Wash. He started the summer as a top-50 prospect, but a number of dominant performances against highly-regarded competition propelled him into the top 15. Bradley used his impressive athletic ability and scoring prowess to wreak havoc on opposing defenses, producing a number of highlight-reel plays in the process. He used these same gifts to compete at a high level defensively. ESPN 8/28

Six-foot-9 center Joshua Smith (Covington, Wash./Kentwood) and new ESPNU Super 60 addition Harrison Barnes (Ames, Iowa) round out the top five. Smith is a physically imposing low post player who tries to dunk everything he touches. With his combination of size and strength, he is one of the best in the class at finishing around the basket. The 6-6 Barnes was fantastic at the Nike Global Challenge. He has economy of motion to his game along with superior skills and athleticism. He'll cut hard when freeing himself to get open, and when there is space between him and his defender, he'll rise up with his long frame and shoot the jumper with confidence to about 20 feet. ESPN 8/28

Avery Bradley will not return to Bellarmine Prep for his senior year. ”He’s a fine young man and a great basketball player,“ said Bellarmine Prep athletic director Ed Ploof. ”We wish him well.“ Bradley, one of the nation’s most sought-after recruits, has not enrolled at a new school, said Garry Ward, the coach of Bradley’s AAU team, the Northwest Panthers. Ward said Bradley is considering schools that will help him ”reach his goal of being academically eligible to play in college as a freshman.“ ”There is some research going on,“ Ward said, ”into seeing what school will most benefit Avery in addressing his academic concerns.“ Ward said a school would likely be chosen ”next Tuesday or Wednesday.“ The Olympian 8/29

On July 9, Lance Stephenson was cut from the U.S. under-18 national team, with reverberations of the news setting off questions about the Lincoln star throughout the country. Why was he cut? "Lance is a tremendous basketball player," U.S. coach Bob McKillop told the Daily News at the time of the cut. "The question is what was happening with those other four guys on the court, when Lance is on the court? Five percent of the game is played with the ball in your hands. The other 95% is played without the ball in your hands. Lance had to work on that. We try to implement the team concept of passing more than dribbling. That was something other players got better and better at. It was a very difficult decision." Stephenson was shocked. "When I got cut, I was just told I wasn't what they were looking for, I wasn't a good fit," Stephenson says. "But to find out that they thought I'm a selfish player . . . I don't think I'm a selfish player. I don't think I have to score to win the game. I think I worked hard. I tried my best to make the team. I think I wasn't (McKillop's) fit. I take it as a learning experience and try to get better." NY Daily News 8/30

Former Madison Academy basketball star Bawa Muniru - who has completed his high school eligibility in Alabama but has more work to do academically - has enrolled at Charis Prep in North Carolina. The 7-foot Muniru said he needs to complete five core classes this school year to meet NCAA requirements. He said he has offers from UCLA, LSU, Louisville, Oklahoma State, Western Kentucky, Missouri, Indiana and SMU. "I am looking for somewhere I can go and fit in and be able to produce," Muniru said. "I want to help the program win so I can go to the next level." Huntsville Times 8/31

(photo credit: ESPN)



At Sep 1, 2008, 7:03:00 AM, Anonymous Dan-O said...

Good catch for UCLA. I never thought Lamb was going to be offered let alone don the Bruin uni but congrats Tyler. While I was initially skeptical on this commit, people on this board consistently note that Howland knows what players will succeed (e.g. Russell Westbrook)and that ballyhooed recruits (e.g. Derrick "Lack of" Character) can often be overrated. Pick up Smith for the 2010 class, Honeycutt, Stover, and Snaer (I have done a 180 on this guy)for 2009, and we're good to go for the next few years. Crush the Vols!

At Sep 1, 2008, 9:30:00 AM, Anonymous JonW said...

Great get...I was hoping we'd get Lamb. 2010 is looking good esp if we get Smith, but lets finish off our big class of 2009 with Gaddy, Stover, and Honeycutt.

At Sep 1, 2008, 12:13:00 PM, Anonymous Bee said...

What opened my eyes to Snaer was his performance during this year's Tournament of Champions. Although the real marquee match-up was Jrue taking it to Derozan, Snaer had an excellent performance against Jrue that, for some reason, stuck out in my mind. I have been following Snaer as a prospect ever since.
Snaer's performance at Pangos and his subsequent development to this summer in Vegas has really cemented him as a top-talent, and he has good size (6'5") to boot. I like how many describe Snaer having a nasty streak in him; to me, I love having players that are ultra-competitive. Jrue Holiday is a prime example; he will completely lock you down on D, and just start stuffing baskets down your throat if you get on his bad side.
I hope we can get Snaer. I'm hearing that his main concern is PT, and with Coach Ben, you have to earn your time on the floor. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

At Sep 1, 2008, 2:41:00 PM, Anonymous Rob said...

Speaking of basketball recruiting, this was a HUGE win over the Vols tonight. The football program has advanced a year with this one win. Just awesome.

At Sep 1, 2008, 4:25:00 PM, Anonymous Dan-O said...

Couldn't agree more Rob. Awesome job on the part of the Craft battling back from the brink. Go Bruins!!

At Sep 3, 2008, 12:19:00 AM, Anonymous franklinlb said...

Avery Bradley is supposed to make his commitment sometime this week or next week...hopefully he chooses the Bruins

At Sep 3, 2008, 2:52:00 AM, Anonymous jojoenglish said...

I wish Avery Bradley would pick UCLA as well.
Quoted from
"Five-star prospect Avery Bradley has a lot going on right now. First, he just transferred from Tacoma (Wash.) Bellermine Prep to Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep. Secondly the 6-foot-3, 175-pound shooting guard is closing in on a commitment to a Big 12 power (Texas)."

At Sep 3, 2008, 6:29:00 AM, Anonymous franklinlb said...

Hey BBR,
Could you tell me more about Elijah Johnson, the shooting guard from Las Vegas. He seems like a very good player with tons of upside and ability but no one is really talking about him. Could you tell me if he is still interested in UCLA and if UCLA plans on offering him. Thanks

At Sep 3, 2008, 3:34:00 PM, Anonymous Bruin Basketball Report said...

Johnson is definitely an elite young talent and a good kid. He is interested in UCLA and the Bruins would love to have him as well, unfortunately, he may not have the grades to qualify to attend the Westwood campus.


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